On december 8th Stephen Reid announced that they have now moved early access from December 15th to an earlier December 13th, They've also extended the maximum early access period of up to 5 days, to a new number of up to 7 days. Early access will end on December 19th, full launch is December 20th. The full article posted by Stephen Reid on the SWTOR forum is bellow, and I've also provided a direct forum post link to the topic.
We're happy to finally announce today that Early Game Access begins December 13th, 2011. This means that everyone who has pre-ordered Star Wars: The Old Republic and redeemed their pre-order code will have up to seven days to play the game early.
As before, when your Early Game Access begins will be determined based on when you redeemed your pre-order code. You will be emailed on the day you are being admitted to Early Game Access to confirm you can now access the game.
Early Game Access was extended to seven days to allow us to gradually ramp up the number of people in the game over a longer period. This allows us to ensure maximum stability and a good population across servers. It also allows us to have more flexibility on exactly how many people we admit per day.
With that said, we're still planning on allowing a large number of people into Early Game Access on a daily basis. In our final Beta Testing Weekends, we had hundreds of thousands of players on the game servers - and we have additional server capacity for launch. However, we still need to remain flexible during Early Game Access, and this led to the decision to notify people on the day that their Early Game Access begins.
We know many of you expected and wanted advance notice on Early Game Access, but we made this decision to ensure that we could remain flexible and react to unforseen issues during launch. Our number one priority has always been a smooth launch, so this decision was a necessity.
The good news is that effectively everyone is being given two 'extra bonus' days as the EGA program is now up to seven days long. The bad news is unfortunately we cannot let people know on an individual basis when they will gain access until we are ready.
We do understand that you are concerned about when you will receive the email. To save your F5 keys, as well as being notified by email, you will also be able to check the Launcher for Star Wars: The Old Republic. When you have been granted Early Game Access, your Play button will be enabled. (You will need to restart the Launcher on occasion if you're still grey.) Finally, you will be able to login to your account page here on SWTOR.com and check your status.
We absolutely understand (and appreciate!) everyone's eagerness to play, but this plan will ensure that we don't fall at the final hurdle - bringing people into the game at launch. We hope you'll bear with us as we gradually grant Early Game Access to everyone who pre-ordered.